The Marriage Certificate

A genealogical mystery novel by Stephen Molyneux

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What prompts amateur family historian Peter Sefton to buy the marriage certificate he sees on display in an antiques arcade? Is it because he thinks it should be private and he wants to remove it from public view? Is it the prospect of researching the individuals named upon it? Or is it something else, happenstance perhaps, which leads him towards a potentially lucrative discovery and a long forgotten family secret?

When John and Louisa marry in January 1900, who could foretell how their lives and those of ambitious Rose, the bridesmaid, and confident Frank, the best man, would be changed that day?

Follow their story, through Peterís research and find out how, with investigative skill and a certain amount of luck, Peter finds himself pulled along to uncover a series of sad and tragic events Ö events, which connect the marriage certificate to a modern day mystery. But Ö thereís a complication. In his quest to complete the family tree he learns that he has competition. Itís not just a matter of pride; thereís money at stake too. Should he the amateur give up, or can he really beat the professionals at their own game? 


More than 400 reviews.  See what readers say at, and


... plus here's some other comments received:

"I was enthralled by the way that the author weaves the different threads of the story together. "   Peter Calver, founder of

"This book leaves you captivated and when you think you know what will happen next, the author totally takes you by surprise by going down another different mesmerizing path. It reminds me that all of us have those deep dark secrets, and we never know what can happen to bring those secrets out into the open. "  Tina Sansone for

"The author is an amateur genealogist himself and you can tell, as this novel has a delightfully authentic feel. Add in the probate research element, and you've got a sense of urgency that drives the plot. It's a well told and entertaining 'busman's holiday' for genealogists."  Family Tree Magazine

"Adding to the growing genre of family history novels, this steps away from the bloodcurdling thrillers that have dominated to focus on the real skills of genealogy and the interesting stories they can unearth. " Your Family Tree Magazine

"Written from a number of different points of view, Stephen Molyneux has deftly narrated and woven together strands of lives a hundred plus years apart into an intriguing tale of genealogy and heir hunting.  When Peter Sefton discovers a marriage certificate for sale at an antiques centre, its purchase draws him into the world of probate research.  The names and family are fictional - he writes so convincingly about them, I had to check.  Stephen demonstrates a great knowledge of his subject and has clearly done huge amounts of research into the period of, and circumstances surrounding, the Boer and First World Wars to create a fast moving and evocative story. "  Heir Hunters Association